A cool Autumn morning saw the Whirlwinds pay their first visit to Maulden.
The game started and Maulden’s intentions were pretty clear from the off playing 4 at the back and 2 holding midfielders just in front. Packing the centre of the pitch and denying space, Whirlwinds unfortunately played straight in to the trap, by trying to play through the centre of the pitch, the wide players being dragged in off the touchline. They away side were getting the better of the game, creating chances, Ajiri could well have had 4 or 5 but for once, he didn’t have his shooting boots on and sent his shots wide. Maulden were just hitting long balls, and to be fair were having some success, some indecisive defending causing the odd moment of panic. Finally the deadlock was broken shortly before the break, when Ajiri escaped the rugby type tackle of a home defender, and fire home 0-1. Shortly afterwards the ref blew for half time.
As a tough a half time team talk as we have had to give for a long time. We were playing the home sides game and not our own. With the home team ‘parking the bus’ we needed to get the ball in to the wide areas of the pitch, to go around rather than through the packed defence, and trigger happy linesman.
Maulden lined up with an even more defensive approach, this time employing a flat back 5! Fortunately the message had got through to the away size an Ajiri coming from the left double the lead 0-2. Oliver broke down the right and his powerful low cross was palmed in to net by the home keeper 0-3. Then a superb defence splitting over head kick from Jack M found Oliver in the clear for once, the linesman kept his flag down and slotted home past the despairing dive of the Keeper 0-4. Oliver then went on to complete his hat trick almost a mirror of his first with the keeper palming in his cross/shot 0-5. Whirlwinds were rampant, however Maulden were dangerous with their long punts, Nathan pulling off one superb double save. Soon the away made it six with Sam, latching on to a defence splitting pass 0-6. Then it came the moment we had been waiting for over a year for, a lovely pass by Oakely, saw Sam break the offside trap, only for him to fall over his feet, Jack D picked the ball up and carried the ball in to box, it seemed like time stood still, approaching the keeper he smashed it high in to the net, he sped off kept over the respect barrier with his team mates following to be bundled by almost the entire team 10 metres off the pitch! 0-7. A fitting way to end the came after the frustration of the first half.
Scorers: Oliver (3), Ajiri (2), Sam, Jack D
Summary: A frustrating first half, we dropped down to play our opponents game, we will have lots of opponents this season who will set up to stop us scoring and we need to be cleverer with our use of the ball and movement off it. Thankfully we got the half time message and played to our strengths and not get dragged down by our opponents.
M.O.T.M: It was difficult today as the first half overshadowed the much better second half display. Credit to both Billy and Oliver who were fantastic in the second half. But there can only be one winner, finally to the relief of everyone he got that monkey off his back, Jack D takes this weeks crown, well done Jack and don’t make us wait a year for another!